Marshall’s Matt Thompson Pulls Away to Win Historic 100th Michigan Open Championship
HIGHLAND – Matt Thompson, Marshall Country Club’s new golf professional, made five birdies on the back nine to pull away from the field Thursday and win the 100th Michigan Open Championship presented by LaFontaine Cadillac at Prestwick Village Golf Club.
The six-shot win powered by a 6-under 66 for a 16-under 272 total earned the Battle Creek native and former University of Michigan golfer $8,500 and a two-year lease on a new Cadillac.
“I’m beyond excited about the car,” he said. “I’ve been car shopping the last few months and held out for a little bit. I have a Dodge Stratus, almost to 200,000 miles. This could not have come at a better time.”
It was also about time for Thompson, who has had several close calls in the Michigan Open in recent years, including back-to-back seconds in 2009 and 2010 to Ryan Brehm.
“I feel great and it is so nice to finally get a win in the state of Michigan,” he said. “I knocked on the door too many times not to win one. Oh man, it was great to finally push through and get it.”
Tom Werkmeister, the amateur from Grandville who won in 2013, finished second at 10-under 278 with a closing 68.
Mini-tour player Willie Mack III of Grand Blanc rallied with a 65 and tied at 279 with Chris Mory, the teaching pro from Haslett, who closed with a 72.
Jeff Cuzzort, the 2015 champion who either led or shared the lead the first three rounds, shot 74 in the final round for 280 and fifth place, and Tom Gillis, the former PGA Tour player from Lake Orion, fired a 71 for 281 and sixth place.
Defending champion Jeff Bronkema shot 72 for 285 and a tie for 12th.
Mory said Thompson hit great shot after great shot and earned the win.
“He was great,” he said. “I’m proud of how I played all week. Matt just played better than everybody.”
Thompson, whose last win was 2 ½ years ago on the GPro Tour in North Carolina said a birdie on the par 5 No. 10 hole followed by a birdie on the long par 3 No. 11 hole jump-started his back nine 31.
“Getting up and down on 10 for the birdie from that front bunker was huge,” he said. “Then I birdied 11, hit good shots on 12 and 13 and made pars, then birdied 14 and 15 and just kept going from there. I just concentrated on hitting good shots and figured I would worry about everything else at the end.”
Turned out there was little to worry about.
“I surprised myself,” he said. “I just took the job at Marshall and decided to give up the mini-tours, the travel and the long hours of practice and playing. It’s funny how it works. I got here Monday and about 10 minutes before my tee time I found something with squaring my clubface. I went with it and for the first two days it was okay, and then the last two days I was just dialed in.”
The former high school Mr. Golf in Michigan at Battle Creek Lakeview said this does not give him second thoughts about tour golf. He and his wife Kayla will be house hunting soon.
“No, I’m going to drive a Cadillac in Marshall,” he said. “I have to get back tonight and do scoreboards for the member-guest. It starts tomorrow.”
COMPLETE RESULTS: Can be found at www.michiganpgagolf.com
VIA: Greg Johnson